Sotomayor’s cases show us she is what?
They show that she swings both ways, as in right and left of the center. Which means no one can really call her a liberal or conservative.
Justice David Souter was supposed to be right of the center, which is why Bush41 nominated him. He was as far from that description as you can get.
Same goes for Sandra Day O’Connor. She was moderate on some issues, left on others. Very seldom was she right of center.
The NY Law Journal and Law.com have articles up about her cases. Her one case that bothers me is her siding with Bush43 on the gag order regarding groups that support abortion and receive federal funding. Marc Ambinder from The Atlantic has this:
David Brody of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) News breaks down Sonia Sotomayor’s most notable abortion-related decision, in which she ruled in favor of the “Mexico City Policy,” finding that the U.S. government is free to ban aid to foreign groups that support or perform abortions. (As The Hill notes, this decision won her praise from at least one Republican.) Brody’s prediction: that since Sotomayor has never ruled directly on the legality of abortion, she will be pressed even harder on the issue during her confirmation process.
Of course, that doesn’t really tell us much about her opinion regarding the legality of Roe v Wade.
I like Dahlia Lithwick’s article on Sotomayor and the logic she presents on why the Rethugs haven’t got a leg to stand on with regard to tarring and feathering her as a friggin liberal, activist, racist Judge:
Instead of wading into a bruising identity politics war they cannot possibly win, conservatives—even the angriest conservatives—should wade into Sotomayor’s vast legal writings. There are hundreds of cases for them to read and parse and quote out of context. Let’s have this confirmation battle on the merits, rather than in the sinkhole of unfounded character attacks. The real problem for Sotomayor’s opponents is that anyone who has closely read her opinions won’t find much to build a case on. As the indefatigable team at SCOTUSblog has chronicled here and here, on the appeals court, Judge Sotomayor has taken a fairly moderate, text-based approach to the cases before her, placing her much closer to retiring Justice David Souter than to the late Justice William Brennan on the judicial activism spectrum.
She has been overturned three times at the Supreme Court, and may well be again soon. But she was also a state* prosecutor, a corporate lawyer, and a Bush I appointee to the federal bench. As the White House points out in its talking points today, “In cases where Sotomayor and at least one judge appointed by a Republican president were on the three-judge panel, Sotomayor and the Republican appointee(s) agreed on the outcome 95% of the time.”
Lithwick tackles all the bs the Rethugs will throw at her. It’s a good read and I highly recommend it.
So, the bottom line for me, is this: She really isn’t known to be left or right of the center all the time. My hope is that she turns out like David Souter and surprises the shit out of everyone, including Obama. Below is Jonathan Turley this evening on Countdown, discussing Judge Sotomayor’s cases and rulings. Plus how does she feel about equal rights for the LGBT community?